Laurie Latham, Executive Director of the Eckstein Charitable Trust, paid a visit to the Rebuild Center recently. We are very grateful to the Eckstein Trust for believing in our work and for helping to fund our operations and Bike Project!
‘Tis the season of giving, and the Harry Tompson Center community is overflowing with gratitude!
Many organizations, ministries, and individuals have organized “Giving Trees” or holiday donation drives based on our Wish List to help us in our mission to provide basic needs to those struggling with homelessness. The need is great- every day, we encounter almost 200 people seeking our help and compassion.
A special thank you to the following for organizing or collecting needed items for our guests-
Immaculate Conception Church
St. Rita Church and School
Alumni of St. Joseph High School Class of ‘61
St. Catherine of Siena Church
Huron Consulting Group
The Marian Servants
Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans Ministers
Jefferson Volunteer Family and Community
Charlotte Eberts and friend
Metairie Academy for Advanced Studies
We are grateful to all those who participated in and supported these drives or have made recent financial contributions to the Center. Our mission wouldn’t be possible without the kindness of donors like you. Our work is never done, and your support allows us to continue to make miracles happen every day at our Center.
Kip Barard received the “Chronic Homeless Navigator of the Month Award from UNITY of GNO on Nov. 15. Here’s what Brandi Gaines of UNITY had to say about Kip:
“Kip Barard is amazing at everything that he does which is why I felt it necessary that he be nominated for the Chronic Navigator of the Month Award.. He sets the bar for himself so high and he always surpasses the goal. He is often the first person recommended to try out a new pilot program, because you know that it will be done exceedingly well. The same level of enthusiasm is true in terms of how he navigates his clients into housing. He is so thorough and supportive in the navigation process. You better believe that he will ensure that his client is referred to all services that are necessary to become stable. I know that when Coordinated Entry receives a referral from Kip that it will always be perfect!
Every summer the Harry Tompson Center recruits at least one Jesuit Volunteer from the national Jesuit Volunteer Corps program to work with us at the Center. This year, we welcome Christian Frederickson!
Christian was born in Maryland, close to the nation’s capital. He spent most of his childhood in the D.C. area, but since then his family has relocated to Illinois. Since arriving in New Orleans, Christian has already enjoyed the local parks and music scene, and he looks forward to exploring the rest of the city.
Christian is a graduate of Notre Dame University, where he majored in Science Business, a category of pre-med studies that also focuses on business practices. He hopes to one day be a doctor that incorporates service to those struggling with homelessness.
Before joining the Jesuit Volunteers, Christian volunteered at a recovery program and shelter in Virginia. He also volunteered at a local free clinic. He has been impressed with our center, including the medical services and has enjoyed meeting our volunteer physicians.
For years, Amanda and her two boys have brought donuts for our guests to enjoy. They faithfully come for a visit almost every winter and summer break, and our guests are always excited for the sweet treat. Here is a photo from Thanksgiving 2014 and one from yesterday- clearly, the boys are turning into kind and sweet young men. Thank you to the boys and Amanda for reminding us that compassion can be given at any age.
The New Orleans weather is sweltering, and our guests need help to stay cool. We appealed to our supporters to donate clean, reusable water bottles to help our guests combat the summer heat, and we have already received a response! Special recognition is due to volunteers Katherine and Kristen, who brought the first round of reusable water bottles for our guests. Katherine’s daughter actually saw our appeal on Facebook, and went around asking her friends and family to contribute. Katherine was able to deliver the bottles her daughter collected only two days after we published the post. The first guest to receive one, pictured above, was shy but grateful for the gift.
Our search isn’t over though! We offer water fountains and cold water for our guests, but the heat lasts well into the night and having easy access to water can make all the difference for someone struggling on the streets. The donated bottles went fast in this weather, and we are in need of more to give the hundreds of people who come through the doors of the Rebuild Center every day. If you have any to donate, please bring them by on any weekday between 8-2:30 p.m.
REBUILDING THROUGH THE ARTS
ART SALE AND OPEN HOUSE
REBUILDING THROUGH THE ARTS
ART SALE AND OPEN HOUSE
Thank you to all who attended the Art Sale and Open House, “Rebuilding Through the Arts” that was held on this Saturday, May 11 at the Rebuild Center.
The event was a great success!
Musical entertainment was provided by “Blue Cheese”
Curated by Diana Jackson
Thank you again to all those who supported us during our “Harry Says Aloha” 2019 Gala Fundraiser! Thanks to you all, we were able to reach our goal and will be able to continue to provide life-saving services to the hundreds of people who seek our help every day. With awesome auction prizes, delicious food from local eateries, fun drawings, an exciting theme and more, a great time was had by all at one of our most successful Galas yet! Guest Percy delivered a truly beautiful performance of a song that he wrote himself. You can now see the full gallery on our website, and tag yourself and us in any pictures you wish to share.
Thank you to our 2019 Gala Top Sponsors!
Bird of Paradise:
Ronnie and Gwen Briggs;
The Hammer Family;—
Shannon and Jerry Daigle;
Father Doug Doussan;
Clancy and Margo DuBos;
Cathy and Don Espenan;
Goldring Family Foundation;
Hancock Whitney Bank;
Drs. Anand and Maya Irimpen;
J. Edgar Monroe Foundation;
Lynn and Drew Marsh;
Gary and Martha Solomon/ Crescent Bank;
Anna and Richard Tompson;
At the end of January, past and present students of Jesuit delivered a ton of much-needed items to the Harry Tompson Center! The class of 1984 worked with current students to hold a clothing drive and the class of 1967 organized donations of BRAND NEW shoes for the guests of the Center.
Thank you, gentlemen, for your generosity and hard work in organizing these drives!
Local artist and guest of the Harry Tompson Center Juston Winfield has graciously offered some of his wonderful art pieces for the upcoming “Harry Says Aloha!” Gala Silent Auction. Juston has been recognized in several publications and photo contests, and was the guest speaker at the Interfaith Memorial Services for the Homeless held on December 17 at St. Joseph’s Church.
Read Juston’s insightful and powerful reflection presented at the service below.
I, Juston Winfield, was homeless for 4 years and the Rebuild/ Harry Tompson Center opened their doors for 4 years with loving arms and made services available as far as medical, legal, hygienic, and arts and crafts available for those who are less fortunate.
We take this moment to remember those who passed away due to exposure of the elements, of the weather. I was one of those people who really didn’t feel comfortable staying in shelters. I stayed under Ponchartrain Expressway. I stayed on Julia and N. Tonti. I never went into shelters on Freeze Nights. I just put a blanket on my tent and had a baking pan inside with candles lit to keep me warm. These are some of the obstacles that homeless people go through in fear of going into a shelter: fear that legal documentation that I accumulated on the streets would be lost or stolen and fear that I would have to reset and start all over again with documentation.
I would encourage the wealthier class of people not to treat homeless people bad or disrespectful because….Facebook quote… “We are the same. You could be one hospital bill away from homelessness.”
The Harry Tompson Center/Rebuild Center made other services available for me to be able to start a career with art and photography. I was encouraged to go forward. I recently purchased an Artist Permit and I sell art now. I have been housed. I still go to the Rebuild Center to see those faces that were there for me. When I had nothing, those faces I will call “Grace Faces.”
As Art By Jaw would say, “I tried to told ya but you didn’t want heard me.”
Thank you to all those who contributed to Immaculate Conception Jesuit Church’s Giving Tree! Year after year, their Giving Tree helps gather much-needed supplies for the guests of the Harry Tompson Center. This year, we have received enough wonderful donations to hopefully last us through Spring. Special acknowledgement to Cathy Espenan for organizing this wonderful activity that helps so many in need.
Thank you to those who joined us in person and in spirit as we prayed for the homeless, especially for those who have passed away in 2018, during the Interfaith Memorial Service for the Homeless that was held on Monday, December 17 at St. Joseph Church. Harry Tompson Center guest Juston Winfield shared his prior experiences of being homeless in New Orleans. The event was sponsored by the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Catholic Charities, the Ignatian Spirituality Project, and the Harry Tompson Centerr. A fellowship and simple reception followed in the church vestibule.
Pre-giving for #iGiveCatholic’s #GivingTuesday is now open! #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving meant to recognize the true meaning of the Holiday season and be a break from the consumerism. Don’t forget to schedule your gift and support the good work of the Harry Tompson Center! Join the global movement and say #iGiveCatholic today!
Thanks to all who attended the Third Annual Exhibit and Reception for the MyNew Orleans Photo Project! Featuring works by six Rebuild Center Guests, this year the Exhibit was held at Propeller, 4035 Washington Avenue, on November 9 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. The featured pictures are part of the 13 finalist photos chosen from hundreds of submissions, and will be featured in a 13 month calendar available for purchase at the event and through special order. Congratulations again to all finalists!
Harry helping Harry- a Harry Potter Trivia Fundraiser!
Claire Fitzgerald, a medical student at Tulane in the MD/MPH program is currently conducting a study for the Harry Tompson Center’s Medical Clinic to try and determine barriers for homeless persons accessing and using primary care providers through Medicaid. It is Claire’s hope to identify some of these barriers and recommend ideas that may help people with chronic issues get more effective care from nearby primary care providers. Thank you, Claire, for conducting your study at the HTC!
Thank you, Academy of Sacred Heart, for sending 17 volunteers on September 15 to beautify the Rebuild Center as part of your Global Day of Service! Staff, students and parents weeded, pruned palm and bamboo trees and cleaned up very nicely to help keep the Center a beautiful oasis for our guests. Thank you to everyone who helped!
Community Night at the New Orleans Museum of Art
HTC guest Juston Winfield, a participant in the #EverydayNewOrleans Photo Project, and our Director, Vicki Judice were part of the “Round Table” Discussion Panel on September 7 at the New Orleans Museum of Art. The winning photographs by Juston and other participants from the Rebuild Center are currently on display in the Changing Course: Reflections on New Orleans Histories exhibit, which will be open until September 16. As a community-based photo project, #EverydayNewOrleans aims to display the everyday life, journeys, and viewpoints of those marginalized in society. To learn more about the experiences of those who participated in the project, take a look at this blog written by Nic Aziz, the Community Outreach Coordinator for NOMA+ and overseer of the #EverydayNewOrleans Photo Project.
Thank you for supporting us at Echo’s Pizza during Dining for Dollars!
Thank you to everyone who supported us on August 13!
Echo’s Pizza offered to donate 10% of their proceeds on August 13 to the Harry Tompson Center. Several staff, volunteers, and other supporters of the HTC were spotted at Echo’s. Thank you again for all the support!
Photographs taken by five of our guests will be on display until September 16 at the New Orleans Museum of Art!
Thank you for making the Gala and GiveNOLA a success!
Thanks to our supporters, not only did we meet our fundraising goal during the Gala, but we also raised an additional $2,600 on GiveNOLA day. Your assistance allows us to continue to offer our life-saving day shelter services to individuals experiencing homelessness in New Orleans.
Don’t forget! You still have time to bid online on the awesome items still up for grabs during our “Second Chance” Auction, including an awesome new item-
Two spots in the 2019 Irish Channel Saint Patrick’s Day Club Walking Parade: Includes a membership for the year and a 2019 medallion. Also includes a priceless Irish Channel Saint Patrick’s Day Club medallion from 2002 featuring Father Harry Tompson. Valued at $400, this is too good of an opportunity to pass up!
Our mission never ends, and we are already preparing for several projects over the summer to improve the lives of our guests in various ways! Keep your eye on our upcoming events column to stay up-to-date on the happenings at the Center.
The Gala is Saturday Night!
Please support us by joining us at the 2018 HTC Gala “Give Your Heart to Father Harry” this Saturday night from 6:30-10 p.m. This year, the Gala will be held at the Academy of the Sacred Heart Nims Fine Arts Center, located at 4301 St. Charles Avenue. Parking is available in the lot at Carondelet and General Pershing.
Even if you are not able to attend, please consider purchasing a $5,000 Give-Away ticket for just t$50 per chance, or else participate in our 50/50 raffle (winner takes half of the ticket sales and the other half is donated to the HTC) for just $5 per chance or $20 for five chances. Also, the Silent Auction is not just for attendees! You can register for the Silent Auction at https://501auctions.com/htc. Check out all the amazing items, and bidding is now open!
Mark your calendars now for the upcoming 2018 “Give Your Heart to Father Harry” Gala on April 21! This year, you can purchase a sponsorship online at our Gala website, https://501auctions.com/htc.
This year is full of changes, the biggest of which is the location and our introduction of the Gala website, which will also serve as an online site to buy Admission Tickets, Give-Away tickets, a bidding portal for our Silent Auction and more. Visit our 2018 Gala webpage for more information. The site is http://501auctions.com/htc
If you need any help with the registration process or have any questions, reach out to our Public Relations Coordinator Regi Reyes at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact her at 504-273-5547 ext. 1.
The 2018 “Give Your Heart to Father Harry” Gala will be held from 6:30-10 p.m. at the Academy of the Sacred Heart’s Nims Fine Arts Center, located at 4301 St. Charles Avenue.
Honorary Chairwoman Mrs. William Guste will receive special recognition for her years of public service to the homeless and Sally Bourgeois will receive the 2018 Legatus Christi Award for her outstanding volunteerism to the guests of the Harry Tompson Center.
The HTC Medical Clinic is back in business for the new year!
The clinic is buzzing with activity during this cold season as our guests come in with sniffles, coughs, and other ailments. Shannon Daigle, Volunteer Intake Specialist at the Friday clinic, is already busy conducting intakes for patients as well as preparing packets of vitamins and medication. 25 volunteers like Shannon dedicate a few hours of their time on a Tuesday or Friday to provide medical and mental health treatment services to approximately 10 guests each clinic and over 1,100 annually. In addition to our Volunteer Intake Specialists, our Volunteer Unit consists of nurses, doctors, a psychiatrist and physician assistants. Their efforts greatly improve the quality of life for many of our most vulnerable guests.
As the guests wait to see the doctors, Shannon spends time getting to know each guest. She proudly shows a small cross decorated with glitter that was given to her by a guest. Watching Shannon smile and laugh with the guests seeking our help and compassion reminds us all about how our mission is truly making a difference in the lives of those experiencing hardship.
Thank you to Shannon and all of our wonderful volunteers with our HTC Medical Clinic program!
This holiday season, give someone an unforgettable gift! If you make a donation in honor of someone between now and midnight on December 24, we will send you a personalized and printable 5X7 “Stocking Stuffer.” Select from a variety of donation amounts or choose your own. Show how much you care with a thoughtful and unique gift!
December 7, 2017
On Monday night, 300 people of different faiths joined together in memory of the 62 homeless individuals who passed away in New Orleans since January. Archbishop Aymond was the principal celebrant for the prayer service and was joined by ministers of many different faiths. The service also included the testimonials of two currently housed Harry Tompson Center guests, Mary Ann Barrett and Veril Pike who recounted their experiences of life on the streets of New Orleans.
Mary Ann had several friends on the list of those who had passed, and shared happy memories of her time with them. Her strength in the face of what she had lost was awe-inspiring. When she was coming to the end of her testimony, she was unable to completely hold back the tears as she shared her surprise and gratitude to the attendees.
“Thank you… I had no idea that so many people cared about us…”
Veril spoke of how he, before he received help and support at the Rebuild Center, could very easily have been on that list. He shared that he had survived two strokes while living on the street, and now volunteers his time at the APEX youth center to give back for all that he was given.
“I felt it was my calling… The reason I made it, to help these kids make something of themselves.”
The service was a beautiful tribute to those who have passed. The ministers ended the sermon with a message of hope, and the call to action, because even though it may be hard to make a change alone, when we come together like this, we can change the lives of many others.
A big thank you to the 28 individuals who donated to the Harry Tompson Center during this years #iGiveCatholic event! They donated a total of $5,025!
Today is #iGiveCatholic’s #GivingTuesday, a national day of online giving that supports nonprofits in the New Orleans area. Until 11:59 p.m. tonight, you can heed the call to share your blessings with others by choosing to support the Harry Tompson Center during this campaign. All funds raised today will help us continue to provide the life-saving day shelter services to hundreds of people every day who come to us seeking hope and compassion. Your donation is secure and tax-deductible. It is the goal of the campaign to inspire the Catholic community to come together through giving, supporting nonprofit organizations that uplift the spirits of those in need. Heed the call and take part of this inspiring campaign today and support the good work of the Harry Tompson Center!
On November 3rd, staff and volunteers of the Rebuild Center attended a special retreat led by Sr. Judy Gomila, a Marianite of Holy Cross sister who actually knew Father Harry Tompson as a teenager when they debated against each other for their high schools. (She said he usually won all his debates!) Sr. Judy reminded us that while we offer works of charity to our guests, it’s also important to seek justice for them. Our souls were uplifted as we shared stories of patience, love, thanksgiving and hope. The retreat and Sr. Judy’s wonderful insights and presence refreshed our spirits and our drive to continue serving those experiencing homelessness in New Orleans.
Each year, we spend thousands of dollars on buying necessary items, such as toothbrushes, laundry detergent, OTC medicine, and cleaning supplies.
Check out our new amazon prime wishlist, a new way for supporters to donate to the HTC! You can use the link to go directly to our wishlist, or, search under “find a list” from your Amazon account for “Harry Tompson Center”. Then, just select the items you wish to donate and go to checkout! If you want to send the items directly to the HTC, just make sure to select “The Harry Tompson Center’s Gift Registry Address” as the shipping address. Thanks for your support!
On October 10, 6 HTC guests were honored as finalists in the 2018 MyNew Orleans Photo Project Calendar. Their winning photographs are featured in the 2018 MyNew Orleans Photo Project Calendar. The Exhibit Reception for MyNew Orleans Photo Project was held at the Downtown New Orleans Public Library from 5-8 p.m. Nick, one of the finalists from last year and a finalist again this year, is this month’s “Story of Courage.” Read about Nick’s journey!
Learn more about the 2018 MyNew Orleans Photo Project and the upcoming Exhibit.
Can you believe it? Ten years ago, the Rebuild Center opened its doors as a day shelter serving the emergency needs of persons experiencing homelessness in New Orleans. Amazing things have happened over the past decade and it’s time to celebrate all of it! We would like to extend an invitation to attend our celebration on Friday, September 29 at 10:30 a.m. to 12 Noon at the Rebuild Center, 1803 Gravier Street. All are welcome as we celebrate 10 years and thousands of people helped!
How the Rebuild Center was established: After the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, the Harry Tompson Center, previously on Baronne Street next to Immaculate Conception Church, was forced to find a new base to continue their mission. St. Joseph’s Church offered the use of its property to build a new facility that would provide day shelter services to the homeless. The Lantern Light Ministry had already been providing food and other services to this population behind St. Joseph’s Church. After consulting with St. Joseph’s Church and Lantern Light, the idea for the Rebuild Center took form. The Vincentians of St. Joseph Church, the Jesuits of Immaculate Conception Parish, Presentation Sisters of the Lantern Light Ministries, and supporters of the HTC joined together to raise $1.1 million to open the new Center with expanded day-shelter services. Many others joined in the effort through their own fundraising or donation of goods and labor. Depaul USA, a Vincentian ministry, joined the Rebuild Center team in 2012.
The Rebuild Center was uniquely designed through the collaboration of local architect Wayne Troyer and a team of architect students from Detroit Mercy College. The beautiful, nurturing, and serene outdoor environment has resulted in numerous design awards and recognition. The Rebuild Center officially opened its doors on September 11, 2007. Since then, thousands of individuals have received life-saving services through the efforts of staff, volunteers, donors and supporters. Over the last 10 years, we have seen 500,000 people step through our doors seeking help. Last year alone, over 5,500 different individuals utilized our services.
We hope that you will be able to join us for this special celebration on Sept. 29 when we will recognize all those who helped to establish and continue to support this amazing place called the Rebuild Center.
With less than $100, we were able to end a man’s homelessness. Wayne has been homeless off and for 10 years, but after we paid $98 for an old electric bill, he was able to begin to move into senior housing. Wayne is a very friendly face at the Center, and we are glad that he finally has a permanent home. Hooray!
Megan Weaver is on a mission- to help three nonprofit organizations in New Orleans and the Harry Tompson Center is one of them! In the spirit of an “alternative bachelorette party”, the philanthropic bride-to-be decided to make her trip to NOLA unforgettable. Not only is she volunteering at all three organizations during her week-long stay in the Crescent City, she also set up a gofundme page to raise funds to donate to the nonprofits she is volunteering at. If that weren’t enough, she is also selling 50/50 raffle tickets to her friends and family, with 50% of the proceeds to be disseminated equally among the HTC and the two other nonprofits. Help Megan in her mission, donate today!
The Harry Tompson Center is blessed to have many faithful volunteers dedicated to improving the lives of ours guests. In 2016 alone, volunteers contributed 3,526 hours. Even though we wish our volunteers would never leave us, we do understand that lives change, and we want to thank two volunteers that will soon be moving on to help others in different parts of the world.
Volunteer Spotlight: Marissa Herzog
Marissa has been a faithful volunteer at the HTC for the past 6 months. She has had a lot of experience volunteering at various shelters and centers that offer services to homeless individuals, and considers her volunteer work part of her identity.
Originally from Boston, she has lived in Colorado, different parts of California, and now New Orleans. No matter her location or situation, she has always made time to help others. When she decided to come to New Orleans, she looked into different resources available for homeless individuals and created a resource guide to give out. After giving a stack of flyers to UNITY, she heard about the Harry Tompson Center, and as they say, the rest is history.
Now, Marissa loves the organized chaos of the Center, comparing the constant movement and activity to the dynamics of the city of New Orleans. “There is always something that needs to be done…getting a client some ibuprofen, fetching a case worker for another client, getting a bag or socks from the back, or taking 10 minutes to show a guest how to download an app on their phone so they can drive for Uber.”
Sadly, Marissa will soon be leaving us and heading to Cambodia, as she has been accepted into the Peace Corps. She admits that she is going to greatly miss the city and the Center, but her philanthropic wanderlust is calling, and she needs to move on and continue her selfless journey to help others.
Volunteer Spotlight: Diana Jackson
Diana can usually be seen in our welcome kiosk, greeting guests in the morning and directing them to the services that they need. The guests find her laugh to be contagious, and many find themselves cheered by her presence at the door. She is an artist, and was a collaborator in the creation of artworks that were auctioned at the Gala. Sadly, she is leaving soon for her summer home, but thankfully will be back come the fall.
Thank you to all persons and businesses who contributed to the 2017 Pass a Good Time with Father Harry Gala. We are so grateful to all the support provided by our Sponsors, Attendees, Restaurant contributors, Auction item contributors, volunteers and committee members! Your support has enabled us to continue providing services to 5,000 persons who seek our assistance each year. Click here to see photos!
HTC guest Jermaine celebrates his recent housing with staff members Emily and Kip. Jermaine was quoted in a recent article by NOLA.com about the dangers of living on the streets of New Orleans. The article is based on a new study about the 44 homeless people who passed away on the streets of New Orleans in 2016. The results of the study reveal that average age of death for these people was 47 years old. HTC colleague Mike Miller who is the Coordinator of Medical and Social Services for the New Orleans Police Department, HTC colleague and volunteer Robyn Burchfield with Emergency Medical Services, and Rachel Cheramie-Gagliano with the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office co-wrote the study. Executive Director Vicki Judice and HTC board member Dr. Peter DeBlieux are also quoted in the article.
To read the full NOLA.com article, click here.
Happy New Year from the HTC! We hope that everyone had happy holidays. Since the New Year has begun, that means the 2017 Harry Tompson Center Gala is fast approaching! This year, the 13th annual Harry Tompson Center “Pass a Good Time with Father Harry” Gala will be on March 11 at the Jesuit High School Commons, and we are pleased to announce that Sheriff Newell and Shawn Normand are serving as the Honorary Chair Couple. Be on the lookout for further updates about the event!
The spirit of giving is certainly in full swing at the HTC! As the holidays approach, we have been receiving many gifts for our guests. Not only have we been receiving gifts from those kind enough to participate in the Immaculate Conception Parish Giving Tree Activity, but also on Friday an ENTIRE BUS from Rummel High School arrived filled with donations of sorely needed shoes, coats, ponchos, and other items. A hearty thanks to Rummel High students, Immaculate Conception Giving Tree donors and ALL persons who have delivered items for our guests! Happy Holidays to all!
Last night, December 7, ministers and faith leaders from Muslim, Catholic, Jewish, Baptist, Buddhist, Baha’i, Unitarian Universal, and Episcopal traditions gathered together in memorial of the 48 homeless individuals who died on the streets of New Orleans over the past year. As the names of those identified were read and those that were unidentified remembered by the locations they were found, a candle was lit and placed at the alter in tribute as readings and songs were done in Hebrew, Arabic, Spanish, and English in universal mourning. David Johnson, a former HTC guest, spoke of his own experiences on the street, and spoke very poignantly about making sure those that passed away are not forgotten. Thank you to all who attended in order to honor those lost. The HTC was proud to be a sponsor for the service and would like to thank all those who attended and were involved.
On Wednesday, December 7, 2016, please join us at an interfaith memorial service for homeless persons who have died on our streets in 2016. There will be readings and local leaders of many different faiths, coming together in memory of those lost. The service will be held from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at St. Joseph Church, located at 1802 Tulane Avenue in New Orleans. David Johnson, famous for his stay in the “Tiny House” and a formerly homeless guest of the HTC will be speaking about his experiences with life on the street. A fellowship and simple reception will follow the service in the church vestibule.
Sponsored by the Harry Tompson Center, the Archdiocese of New Orleans, the Ignatian Spirituality Project (ISP), Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans
November 29, 2016
The Harry Tompson Center is participating in the #iGiveCatholic event today. #iGiveCatholic is an online giving event for people across the nation and the world to raise money for charitable local organizations serving Louisiana. Every contribution made to the HTC on #GivingTuesday will support operational needs of the Center and will help move homeless individuals off the streets into housing of their own. Please consider making a donation to our ministry at iGiveCatholic.org.
Thank you for your support!
October 13, 2016
The HTC is once again bursting with pride as one of our regular guests, Nick Forrest, was interviewed by WGNO’s News with a Twist for his finalist photo in the MyNew Orleans Photo Project Contest. Nick’s beautiful photo of the inside of a streetcar (pictured above) was one of the photos that was featured alongside other finalists in the gallery that debuted on World Homeless Day just a few days ago. As a finalist, Nick will also have his photo featured in that calendar we have been telling you about for the past few weeks. See the heartwarming news story and interview with Nick done by Kenny Lopez by clicking here. The kickstarter link for the calendar will be coming soon, so keep an eye out so we can make this beautiful calendar a reality!
Today is World Homeless Day, a day dedicated to educating people about homeless issues, highlighting the local issues, and celebrating and supporting local good works. Join us for such a celebration tonight and attend a gallery at Propeller at 4035 Washington Avenue featuring images from all 62 participants in the MyNew Orleans Photo Project contest! Click here for more information on the event.
Last week, we told you how 9 of our guests were participants in the contest, and that 3 of them were declared as finalists. This week, we are excited to announce that another guest had his image awarded for the best “story” submitted with the photos. The HTC is very proud of everyone who participated, and we want to congratulate the four participants from the Center who were honored in the gallery on Saturday. Below are the winning photos of our guests, and be on the look-out for the calendar featuring all 13 finalist images that we are hoping to have available for purchase. Click here to be taken to the calendar’s kick-starter page.
We are so proud of all the talented guests we humbly serve at the Harry Tompson Center!
October 6, 2016
The HTC was so excited when 9 of our guests participated in the MyNew Orleans Photo Project* contest, and now 3 of them have been declared as winners! Their photos are set to be featured in a 13-month calendar alongside the other finalists, and one of our guests is even having 2 pictures featured! The 13 photos of the winners are also going to be available for viewing in a gallery on Saturday October 8, while all the photos are going to be featured in a gallery on Monday, October 10. Click on the dates highlight above to find out more about both events. Join us and the MyNew Orleans Photo Project and experience New Orleans from a new perspective!
*Picture Credit: William Bryan Conrad
Note-The image above is from the MyNew Orleans Photo Project Facebook and is not the property of the Harry Tompson Center
Every Tuesday, Dr. Mack Thomas volunteers his time to help heal our guests. On August 30, he wore his “badge of honor”, a patch from Charity Hospital, where he staffed the Surgery Intensive Unit for almost three decades. We are very blessed that Dr. Thomas gives his time to help improve the lives and health of our vulnerable guests. Thank you Dr. Thomas!
August 15, 2016
Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with our brothers and sisters who are displaced and suffering due to the recent flooding in Louisiana. We thank those who have rescued and helped others, and we pray for a speedy recovery for all those impacted. Check out the Nola.com article and the New Orleans Mom’s Blog below for ways to help. We will continue to keep our neighbors who are suffering in our thoughts and prayers.
On what would have been Father Harry Tompson’s 80th birthday, construction began for the Tiny House Build Project! The Harry Tompson Center is hosting this project, which will result in a highly efficient and compact wooden mobile home for a homeless guest of the Harry Tompson Center. The project is spearheaded by Haiyan Khan, the founder and Project Manager of Never Homeless Again, an organization dedicated to assisting the homeless reintegrate to society by providing safe and stable housing for a few yeas while they try to get back on their feet.
Everyone at the HTC is super excited to be a part of this event! The finished house will be the fourth tiny house built by the organization and the third built in New Orleans. When completed, this little self-sustaining home will include a small shower, a futon sofa that doubles as a bed, a solar system panel to provide basic electrical needs, a small toilet, internal storage, a few windows, about 25 gallons of rainwater, a replenishing rainwater catchment and more.
Our Executive Director, Vicki Judice, spoke to WGNO about some of the root causes of homelessness.
“Simply, we do not have enough cheap housing for people to rent- And so, even if [someone] has income, they are not able to afford a rental to get off the street.”
WGNO interviewed Haiyan about the project as well.
“It’s about providing a private space, a dignified space, a secure space for the homeless.” Haiyan told WGNO News With a Twist reporter Kenny Lopez about the initiative.
Want to help on other projects? If you know of or own private land for the next tiny house to be built on, or if you have any further questions about the project or how to help, contact either Haiyan at email@example.com or Vicki Judice at Vjudice@harrytompsoncenter.org.
June 2, 2016
“I’m just trying to save the world, one guest at a time.”
The Harry Tompson Center is very excited to welcome a new staff member to our team! Meet Brandon McGregor, our new Site Coordinator at the Veterans Administration Community Resource and Referral Center. Originally from Pinehurst, North Carolina, Brandon recently graduated from Southern University at New Orleans with a Masters in Social Work. He also previously served in the U.S. Army for six years and is currently a member of the U.S. Army Reserves.
Brandon says that every day is an interesting experience at the CRRC, and assists between 65 -70 people daily. He is fascinated by all the different personalities and unique individuals that he serves. He loves working with the guests and enjoys learning about their struggles and triumphs. He says that he sees all the good work done at the Rebuild Center, and he hopes to make a difference like the rest of the staff and volunteers.
“I’m just trying to save the world, one guest at a time.”
When he isn’t trying to save the world, Brandon enjoys reading mystery novels and sports activities. In the near future, he hopes to become certified as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Because of his love for the communities that he serves, Brandon hopes to one day open his own non-profit. Until then, the Harry Tompson Center and guests welcome you, Brandon!
April 07, 2016
Check out Bernie Saul’s awesome photography from the Harry at the Hop Gala! Over 300 persons participated in the event, which raised more than $100,000 for the Harry Tompson Center. Many thanks to all of our supporters! Click here to see highlights!
March 18, 2016
Thank you to everyone who attended or supported the Gala! We had a rockin’ good time with great food, talented musicians, successful auctions, and much more! Thanks again to everyone who helped or donated!
Keep the spirit of Carnival alive with the Harry Tompson Center’s Annual Spring Gala!
“Harry at the Hop” is sure to be a rockin’ good time for all who attend. Highlights include live and silent auctions, delicious New Orleans Fine Cuisine, and an open bar. With musical entertainment provided by The Whiskey Penguins, featuring band members Jim Letten, Sean Brady, T.J. Boland, and Bill Provensal, the gala is guaranteed to get you hoppin’. John Blancher of Rock ‘N’ Bowl and Ye Olde College Inn is the Honorary Chairperson for the Gala which will be held on March 12 at Jesuit High School from 6:30 to 10 p.m.
Tickets for the event are $75, with Sponsorships starting at just $350. Click on the link below to get more pricing information, or to buy admission tickets, Give-Away tickets, to make a donation, or to become a sponsor.
Donations for the gala itself and/or the auctions are welcomed and appreciated!
Ministers from many different faiths, including Archbishop Gregory Aymond, came together last night at St. Joseph’s Church to pray for homeless persons who had died on the streets of New Orleans last year. The keynote speaker, Hal Jefferson, moved all in attendance with his own recollection of being homeless and eventually being housed. The moving sermon helped ensure that the homeless brothers and sisters that have passed on are not forgotten. The Harry Tompson Center was one of the sponsors for the event which was organized by the Ignatian Spirituality Project.
True to their mission of helping students “to lead meaningful lives with and for others,” Loyola University has been a stellar community partner to the Harry Tompson Center. Last Spring under the guidance of Communications Professor Cheryl Dejoie-LaCabe, students designed a beautiful new brochure for our public relations efforts. A research project is being conducted by Sociology Professor Dr. Lydia Voigt’s students in conjunction with Jennifer Jeanfreau and the Office of Community Engaged Learning, Teaching and Scholarship to help determine the “cost of homelessness” for the Center’s guests and compare that to the “cost of housing” our homeless guests. A new partnership is emerging with the Honors Program under the direction of Professor Naomi Yavneh Klos to coordinate a donation drive to collect such items as books and backpacks as well as to start an urban gardening project among other wonderful activities here at the Center. Lastly, we appreciate the continued services of Loyola student “Service Learners” and staff of the “Jesuit Social Research Institute” who will be returning this Fall to help coordinate phone and shower services for guests.
Thank you, Loyola!
May 19, 2015
The Harry Tompson Center is proud to now be sponsoring weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meetings on Monday afternoons. Alcoholics Anonymous is an important resource through which members can share their experience, strength and hope for the future. We hope that these classes will serve as a safe space for those struggling with addiction.
May 6, 2015
Thank you so much to the 62 donors who generously donated $3,510 to the Harry Tompson Center through GiveNOLA yesterday! Your contributions will support the hundreds of men and women who look to the HTC for survival and hope. We sincerely appreciate every person who chose to recognize the needs of the poor and homeless in our community.
A great time was had by all at the 2015 “Night at the Races” Gala! Thank you to everyone who contributed to the 2015 Night at the Races Gala! With great food, entertainment and a packed house, the night was a success! We are thankful that so many people came out to support our guests.
Houseless Not Nameless Series
The people we meet each day at the Harry Tompson Center amaze us with much more kindness, hope, and personality than the label “homeless” could ever express. Our new project, “Houseless not Nameless,” will take a closer look at the lives and stories of several guests and highlight one of their lesser-known talents. To learn more about the project visit: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harry-Tompson-Center.
“Self-help” workshops are now being held for HTC guests. Our first presentation discussed the services offered at Job 1 to help guests with job skills, resumes and interviewing. The HTC is seeking other presenters who have expertise on a variety of topics that would be relevant to our guests. If interested in giving a presentation, please contact Dayna Kirkpatrick at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
HTC is a partner in the Mayor’s Initiative to End Veteran Homelessness in New Orleans by the end of 2014. Over 17 of our own case management clients were part of this group. The Harry Tompson Center participated in a carefully drafted strategic plan, spearheaded by the City and Unity of Greater New Orleans, which pulled together housing resources and paired them with veterans experiencing homelessness. As of December 31, all 227 veterans who had been identified by July 1 have now been housed!
The HTC was given a makeover by a group of very hard working volunteers from the Alumni Association of Spring Hill College in Mobile. Some of the projects included weeding, trash pick-up, hooks for clothing in the shower stalls, deep cleaning of the phone room, and donation sorting. We were so grateful to have such a dedicated group of volunteers; thank you Spring Hill!
Dr. Peter DeBlieux, HTC board member and coordinator of HTC’s medical services, was recently featured in “Big Charity,” a New Orleans Film Festival award-winning documentary. The film includes extensive interviews to tell the story of Charity Hospital, from its roots to its closing in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Dr. DeBlieux emphasized that, although Charity Hospital’s doors are no longer open, the “spirit of Charity” lives on in places such as the Rebuild Center where the indigent are cared for in a compassionate manner. The film’s director, Alex Glustrom, was so inspired by Dr. DeBlieux that he decided to dedicate 50% of the merchandise proceeds to the Rebuild Center and has even started to volunteer his time here.
The Rapid Rehousing for Chronically Homeless Individuals Program joins the HTC and Depaul USA in a collaborative partnership to begin its first housing assistance program for our guests. This program is funded by a grant from UNITY of Greater New Orleans with HUD homeless assistance funds. The program will house at least 15 chronically homeless persons and is designed to assist those who have been frequent guests at the Rebuild Center over the past few years.
The HTC and Ozanam Inn were chosen as collaborative partners to implement a new assessment tool called the “VI-SPDAT” – the Vulnerability Index Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Prescreen Tool. The VI-SPDAT is an evidence-informed approach to assessing an individual’s acuity or vulnerability and prioritizes who to serve next and which type of assistance will be most effective in ending that persons’ homelessness. Kip Barard, the HTC’s Case Manager, is the point person on this important project.